Friday, February 28, 2014

Medical Education Videos

In two short days Team Guatemala becomes Team Xavier as 12 Xavier pre-med, nursing, and OT students embark on Xavier's fifth Interfaith Community Engagement's medical service trip. For the last four years I have served as the medical director and team pediatrician as we have gone to the beautiful community of Patanatic, Guatemala. My husband, Chris Pramuk is a theology professor at Xavier, which is how I connected into the trip. Rabbi Abie Ingber is a close friend to both Chris and I, and as you know he is our trip leader. The rest of the medical team these past four years joins us from Los Angeles. They are: Richard Walter, and extraordinarily kind, compassionate, internal medicine physician; Cathy Walter, his wife, and phenomenal trauma nurse; and Bonnie Herscher, animal-lover, and also phenomenal trauma nurse. I can say of all of them that their friendship these past four years, through our time in Guatemala, I count among the most important in my life.

In years past we have asked the Xavier students to work in groups and create an educational poster in Spanish that we can hang on the walls in the clinic. We have had some fine posters in years past. But this year we decided to delve further into technology and take advantage of the TV that is in the waiting room in the clinic in Patanatic. In the fall the students chose from one of four educational topics: dental hygiene, prevention of infectious disease, pediatric nutrition and adult diabetes. I introduced the students to two wonderful, Spanish-fluent doctors here in Cincinnati, Dr Marie Callen, a pediatric dentist, and Dr Mayra Frias, an internal medicine physician. We also used the help of a friend of mine, Laura Bell, to help interpret. What the students did is make four phenomenal, brief educational videos in Spanish that will play in the waiting room in Patanatic. They will also be used to train community health workers who live in nearby communities.

These videos have the ability to empower the people in Guatemala through education. It will be through learning about disease and prevention that this community will thrive and rise above the poverty of their lives. This gift, given humbly by these twelve pre-healthcare students is their own legacy to the people in Guatemala that we are going to serve. We have not even left yet, but I am so proud to be able to work with these fine Xavier students. As they start their medical careers through this foundation of service to those who are marginalized in our world, they are truly being men and women for others. Ignatius would be proud too.

- Lauri Pramuk